You have to wonder at the depths of deceit people will go to to get other people's money. Take the case of the Eversons of Grain Valley, Missouri:
The Eversons - Sarah, 45, and Kris, 33 - claimed to have given birth to four boys and two girls March 8. The babies were apparently in intensive care.
The tale exploded in the local spotlight Monday when The Examiner in Independence [Missouri] ran on its front page a photograph of the couple holding six one-piece baby outfits and announcing the births.
Those who heard the Eversons' sad story of tight finances set up a website to solicit contributions - including a new van, a washing machine and dryer, food, clothing, cash and gift certificates. A real estate agent was even working to find the family new housing.
Hours before admitting it was a scam, Sarah Everson showed an Associated Press reporter pictures of her in maternity clothes, her baring a huge pregnant-looking midsection, even sonogram images she claimed were of her infants. She showed off a tiny nursery, a closet full of baby clothes and the tiny diapers premature newborns must wear. She told of the surgeries two of the babies would undergo and detailed her discomfort during her pregnancy.
"I want to be with them all the time," she said, breaking into tears. "I don't like being away from them."
She said the entire story of her children's births was being kept secret by a court order enacted because a member of her husband's family was trying to kill the Eversons and their new sextuplets.
"I'm so afraid they're not going to make it," she sobbed. "Nobody understands how hard this is. I know that they're here. I know what I had to go through to get them here."
Of course, some people were skeptical...
“She’s been pregnant ten times since we’ve known her,” Helen Brown, the manager at a drive-in restaurant where Mrs Everson used to work, said.
...and the police naturally got involved:
Sarah Everson said a detective begin questioning her Tuesday evening; Bradley and Ambrose said the Eversons were interviewed at the police station for about an hour, during which they revealed the story was a scam. Officials have said that the Eversons expressed no remorse when they confessed to the hoax. They were released pending charges, and could face criminal charges for collecting cash and other gifts.
So why did they do it?
The couple [had] ...plenty of debts and had been sued for unpaid rent. “They said they needed the money to pay bills. It was definitely about money,” Aaron Ambrose, Grain Valley’s police chief, said.
The couple were married after meeting via a telephone chatline in March last year. It was the groom’s third marriage and the bride’s fourth. Mrs Everson soon began telling people that she was pregnant but spoke of her concern at the financial strain that six babies would impose on her and her husband.
In the meantime, editors at The Examiner, the newspaper that initially reported the story, are wiping major egg off their faces...
Examiner Editor Dale Brendel said he was considering a front-page column to readers addressing the issue. He said the incident would force a review of his reporters' verification practices.
"I think that we fell victim to the hoax. There were people out in the community who were doing fund-raisers already, and we feel bad for them and for us that we were the victims of that," Brendel said. "In retrospect, there were things we could have done better from a newspaper standpoint, in terms of our investigations and trying to flesh out some of the red flags there were about the story."
...and Sarah Everson is clamming up:
Reached by phone late Tuesday, Sarah Everson offered no explanation. "I'm not talking to anybody right now," she said, "because nobody gets it."
No, lady, you don't get it!
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